EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSTeams Gearing Up For Charleston Heart Walk
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Aug. 29, 2013 1:32 PM EDT
Updated: Sep. 3, 2013 9:45 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
You could say Zachary Griffith had a pretty rough start to his little life.
"You expect to take a healthy newborn home. We did not expect to...we had a healthy normal pregnancy, so it was very shocking," said Zach's mom, April Griffith.
"We found out Zachary needed heart surgery when he was two days old," she said.
Shortly after birth, doctors found a valve condition that needed to be fixed immediately. "It was explained to us that his valve was closing, so the longer they waited, the more it would close and eventually it would close so that no blood would be able to pump through his body," she said.
It was also heart-breaking for Zach's parents.
"It's pretty tough to see your newborn hooked up to 20, 25 machines that are all vital to his survival," said his dad, Matt Griffith.
Zach has proven his resiliency over and over. He's had two follow-up surgeries, one at nine months old and another at 18 months old.
"Since he was 18 months old, he's been doing very well. He gets check ups about every six months, and so far, so good," said his mom.
He's now seven years old and the face for this year's Charleston heart walk this Saturday at the Capitol Complex. His family got involved with the American Heart Association when Zach was a toddler. "Kids and adults are living much longer with heart problems now because of the things that technology has given us and the heart walk has raised money for," said April Griffith.
They're sharing his story in hopes of raising money and awareness to help kids just like Zach. He'll need one more surgery to replace his aortic valve in the future, and his family hopes research will lead to even better technology by then. For now, Zach continues to be just like any other second grader. "We just take it one day at a time. One check up at a time," she said.
You can join Team Zach and others at the Greater Charleston Heart Walk Saturday, Sept. 7. Registration opens at 8:00 at the Capitol Complex, and the walk begins at 9:30. For more information click here
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